Block G Report: Crystal Palace 1 – 0 Hull City

By - Wednesday 29th January, 2014

Tom Lickley reports from a soaking but delighted Selhurst Park, where Crystal Palace move up to 14th in the Premier League

Slowly but surely, Crystal Palace are clawing their way up the Premier League table. This victory, similar in some respects to the last victory over Stoke City, moved Palace five points clear of the relegation zone and drew them level with their opponents Hull City, and indeed puts them equal as best of the promoted clubs so far. The Eagles have now lost just one their last seven home games, a run which could be crucial to survival given the difficulty of some of Palace’s remaining home games – Manchesters United and City, Chelsea and Liverpool are yet to be faced.

But the Palace fans didn’t care. As Hull manager Steve Bruce was jeered off at the end, his departure from Palace in 2001 giving him pantomime villain status (and much to home fans’ satisfaction, he has now lost all four matches against Palace as a Premier League manager, for Birmingham City and the Tigers) a huge celebration was starting.

Having said that, Palace were fairly poor for the majority of the match, and in particular the second half. Yet it is often said that the best teams win even when they play poorly – which will certainly stand the Eagles in good stead.

As expected, the home side lined up with the same team which has served them so well under Tony Pulis so far, with Dean Moxey being picked to play at left back with Jonathan Parr concussed following Palace’s FA Cup exit at Wigan last weekend. Paddy McCarthy made a welcome return to the bench, his last league appearance having been in a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City in April 2012. Hull City gave a debut to Shane Long in attack, who lined up alongside fellow new signing Nikica Jelavic.

The match was lively from the start, with Long in particular raising the ire of the home support after taking a tumble in the box after clashing with Danny Gabbidon. Referee Richard East, highly criticised by supporters throughout the match, waved away the Irish striker’s appeal for a penalty.

As the half progressed, the pressure rose and the tension was palpable in the home stands

It was the home side which took the lead however, with just over quarter of an hour played. Some good work and persistence from Yannick Bolasie on the right wing saw him cross the ball for Jason Puncheon, whose initial header was blocked by fellow Eagle Marouane Chamakh. The ball bounced straight back to Puncheon, who smashed the ball home to put Palace in front.

Despite it being an engaging game, chances were few and far between, a nastily swerving Tom Huddlestone free-kick batted away by Julian Speroni late in the first half the biggest moment before the break.

Whilst Palace had a measure of control in the first half, the second half was dominated by Hull City. Jake Livermore blasted a chance high and wide, and Liam Rosenior and Jelavic also missed good chances to equalise. Speroni was not being tested particularly hard though, and much of Hull’s dominance was down to sloppy play by Palace; retention of possession didn’t seem to be in the home players’ minds, and although the defending was valiant, much of it was unnecessary.

The welcome return of Paddy McCarthy, who came on for Bolasie midway through the second half, settled the Palace rearguard somewhat, although a five man defence did little to prevent Hull from dominating possession. As the half progressed, the pressure rose and the tension was palpable in the home stands.

The pressure spilled over on to the pitch too. A clash between Cameron Jerome and Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor resulted in the former being booked, but the latter was noticeably riled. Indeed, it was rather inevitable that McGregor was sent off in injury time, having kicked out at Stuart O’Keefe following a mistimed challenge from the Palace midfielder. Fortunately, Hull had used all their substitutes which meant Hull’s biggest threat in midfield, Huddlestone, had to take over goalkeeping duties for a couple of minutes. Hull couldn’t find a way through, and Palace were in raptures as East blew the final whistle.

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Mariappa, Gabbidon (O’Keefe 81′), Delaney, Moxey; Bolasie (McCarthy 64′), Jedinak, Ward, Puncheon; Chamakh (Wilbraham 86′), Jerome.

Hull City: McGregor; Rosenior, Bruce (Quinn, 76′), Davies, McShane; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler (Boyd, 56′); Jelavic (Fryatt, 84′), Long.

Goals: Crystal Palace 1 (Puncheon, 16′) Hull City 0.

Sent Off: McGregor (Hull City) 90′.

Attendance: 22,519.

Referee: R. East.

Tom Lickley

Tom Lickley

Contributing a variety of roles to the Citizen since early 2013, Tom now focuses upon regeneration, urbanism and real estate writing. He is a strategic communications consultant specialising in the real estate sector, and counts a number of the world's largest investment and fund management companies amongst his clients.

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